NWK

NWK

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Thoughts on Daily House-Witchin'

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been striving to set aside some special time to devote to spiritual growth. I’ve probably also told y’all a million times just how untidy my house gets! No, untidy is too mild. It’s friggin’ filthy at times.


I hate cleaning. It’s a futile effort because it never stays clean for very long. Not with five pets and an Aussie, anyway. I hate it, so I rarely do it. I’ll do the dishes, of course, but I have a smallish mountain of laundry to go through. The bed never gets made nicely, unless the bedding has been changed. Dust? Eh...You catch my drift. But that’s gross, y’all. I can’t be a happy kitchen witch here, or anywhere that isn’t at least somewhere tidy.


I have decided that, since I have nothing but time on my hands right now, I should come up with a schedule to help me utilize all of those free hours. Seriously, I need to step away from the computer once in a while!


So, what I have so far is a list of tasks that, if done consistently, shouldn’t take much time at all. This list is a combination of mundane tasks and witchy things to help keep the house protected and full of love.

This is my tentative plan:


Sunday is set to be our witchy day here because it’s the day my boyfriend has off. The goal is to strengthen our paths and devote time and energy to our crafts.

Methods:
  • Spend some time unplugged from technology, except for maybe some kind of music playing device
  • Spend time in thought/prayer; to commune with deity - utilizing music, incense, whatever feels right at the time
  • Read
  • Tarot time

Sunday dinner is going to be the roast dinner that’s in my 2-week rotation plan. I can do some prep work on Saturday such as baking bread and making dessert. It takes a while to make a new routine an automatic one, so wish me luck! Let me know what you're up to, as well!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Daily Devotionals, Kitchen Witch-Style

  I suppose I should start by examining the meaning of devotion, so I’ll pull from Merriam-Webster:

1.     An act of prayer or private worship
2.     A religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation
3.     the act of dedicating something to a cause, enterprise, or activity
4.      the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal 

Those definitions segue into the topic of this post. I want to explore the concept of daily devotionals, and I want to look at how these ideas can apply in a specific, meaningful way to the kitchen witch.
By dedicating time and energy to our deities, we strengthen our connection with them. (While it could be that we humans project our emotions onto the gods, or whether we get our emotions from them is irrelevant to me, for once. hehe)

There are many different ways of communing with the gods. One way is to meditate. I’m sure most of you have at least dabbled in meditation and are aware the benefits you receive from it. Another method of communication is prayer. Prayer and meditation can be combined. Some people use prayer beads or other symbols to help them focus. Candles, herbs, incense, music – all of these things are useful to different individuals and their practices.

For me, lighting incense and sometimes a candle means it’s time to cleanse the area. It’s time to create space for tarot. It’s time to get witchy! This made me think about how I can focus and incorporate some more daily spirituality (an area in which I royally suck, btw) into my broader path.
I’ve written before on the power of setting aside a special day once a week or every two weeks or so to unplug from technology and plug into the Divine. That doesn’t work with everyone’s lifestyle, and I totally get that. I’m forgetful. I’m a procrastinator. I’m lazy. It’s a horrible combination. I don’t always get my shit together for that day of rest.

Maybe you’ve seen me post about kitchen altar ideas and herbs for cleaning, purifying, and protecting. There are other, much better articles out there, too, but the reason I mention them at all is because they can all be a part of a daily devotional routine. At least, that’s what I’m shooting for.

Some of the ideas I’ve been working on are:

·       Cleaning/magical cleaning schedule – washing surfaces, protecting doors and windows, sweeping dirt and negativity, etc. This is a bigger project. A never-ending project. A tedious project. A necessary project, though, and one that can be made more enjoyable. I usually put on some inspirational music when I’m washing the dishes and the rest of the kitchen. Not every job has to be done every day, of course. It all depends on your kitchen usage and time available. Whatever task you focus on, put your intent into it. As you sweep, focus on negative energies and obstacles to get rid of. If you are cleaning the stove, imagine polishing an altar in the temple of your hearth deity.

·       Consecration of sacred space – this can include setting up and caring for an altar if you have one, or it can be as simple as lighting a candle and putting into your (turned off) oven to represent the hearth flame. You can do this in just a few minutes if that’s all you have. Light your candle, say a prayer or greeting to your hearth deity, and leave an offering if you can. The offerings can take place once a week or on weekends.

·       Spend time in sacred space – even if it’s just a few minutes while you brew your coffee or tea in the morning, take some time to ground and center while the candle has a chance to burn a bit. You can meditate or pray more, or just enjoy the peace and quiet. This can be done at any time of day, really.

·       Blessings – some of us enjoy the practice of saying a prayer or reciting a blessing before meals. This is probably the only thing I do consistently. The meal may be home-cooked or takeaway, but I am always thankful for it.

And there you have it. These are things I am working on adding to my life. What else would you/do you do? 

The Frugal Kitchen Witch

First of all, Happy Belated New Year!

As I may have mentioned, I’ve been unemployed since July. I’ve been looking and applying for jobs since March, but I’ve had maybe 3 interviews. It sucks. Money is tiiiight. I’m sure many of you know what I mean. I get an unemployment check every week, and my boyfriend gets paid every two weeks, but it’s not enough to keep things running smoothly. I had to turn off autopay to avoid overdraft fees out the wazoo, and I’m kinda sorta juggling things a bit. I’m getting about half of what I used to earn as a teacher, and even then, it was extremely difficult to save. Bleah.

BUT! This blog post is not about just that. This blog post is going to look at what we, the kitchen witches, the priests and priestesses of the deities of the hearth, can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones properly fed and nourished, even when money is short.

I’ve written about how kitchen work can be a ritual, a magical experience, a spiritual experience. We know how I feel about connecting to the wheel of the year and the earth by seasonal cooking. Where am I going with this?

Well, I am going to show you, through my own trial and error, waves to get food on the table that: 1. People want to eat, 2. Is affordable, 3. Tries to be as seasonal as possible (which enhances affordability), and 4. Will, hopefully, help keep spirits up and spirituality alive and well. After all, it’s at times like these that we really turn to the gods and to spellwork, no? Speaking of which, I really ought to make those Prosperity Shortbread Cookies again.

There are a butt-ton, yes, butt-ton, of tips out there on how to cut food waste and grocery costs. As a pagany-type, kitchen-witchy-type person, I am concerned about food waste. I do not want food to go to waste, but because of our lifestyle and our habits, it happens. It happens to everybody. One reason I dislike waste is because I feel I am being disrespectful to the energies of the foods, especially meat products. I do not want to dishonor the spirit and life of the animal. Another reason I dislike waste is because there are so many people who don’t have enough to eat.

Okay, so the goals so far are:
  • Spend less
  • Cook less  (in amount) (there are only two of us)
  • Waste less
  • Be seasonal
  • Up the intent in the cooking - more love energy, more positivity, etc.
  • Eat well (tasty and healthy, or tasty and not terribly unhealthy)

I plan to do as much shopping at Save a Lot as I can, except for a few things that they either don’t have or things that suck. I bought a can of coffee there once. Not doing that again. The meat is usually okay. You just have to check dates and make sure you use it or freeze it the day to buy it. We have an Aldi not too far away. I can’t live without goat cheese. Thank goodness for their prices.

I’m home all day. I have no real excuses for not cooking. It’s 4:17 a.m. and I’m blogging to take a break away from washing dishes. They pile up quickly, don’t they?

And that’s another area of spirituality in which I’ve really let myself go. The kitchen is like my temple. I need to take better care of it. Seriously, what do I do all day? Uhhh...sit in front of the computer and watch Bob’s Burgers. Seriously, get off your ass, Nar, and do some cleaning!

I’ve decided to go with menu rotation for now. I have to admit that I feel a little strange about it because I will basically be sticking to the same types of things, but I have plenty of opportunities to get creative with the basics ideas. What I have done in order to get this idea rolling, is to create a list of dinner menus for two weeks. I figured two weeks at a time would keep us from getting too bored. I mean, we both love spaghetti and tacos, but we probably ought to have a teensy bit of variety. There could be a mutiny. I’ve also left preparation methods open. “Potatoes” means “whatever kind of potato dish you feel like”, for example. Pasta Night could be mac and cheese, or it could be spaghetti and meatballs. Whatevah.

I want to utilize leftovers as much as possible. My boyfriend will be able to take some things to work for lunch. I’m going to hit Save a Lot later in the day and see if I can shop for the first few days that I’ve mapped out. We don’t have to have the same meal on the same night of the week. Thursdays don’t have to be pasta, but it will happen at some point during the two weeks. I put together a table so I can record what date I made each meal, and two nights are set aside as “use up all the leftovers omg!” nights.

Winter is for hearty dishes, spicy dishes, lots of root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, stews, casseroles… Those are the types of things I am going to work on. It’s time for comfort food.

In no particular planning order, here are my menu ideas:

Menu Rotation Meal Ideas

  1. Pinto beans, cornbread, fried potatoes and cabbage, smoked sausage
  2. Stir-fry - chicken or beef, rice
  3. Meatballs with gravy, noodles
  4. Leftovers or homemade pizza
  5. Pork and sausage and cabbage, noodles
  6. Taco Night
  7. Roast Dinner - chicken, turkey breast, or duck, potatoes, gravy, sprouts (or creamed spinach or roasted broccoli), Yorkshire pudding
  8. BBQ ribs (slow cooker), roasted corn salad, baked beans or potato salad
  9. Pasta Night - garlic bread, green beans, broccoli, spinach, or kale (mac and cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna…)
  10. Meatloaf, potatoes, broccoli
  11. Curry Night - chicken or vegetable, rice, samosas, chutney
  12. Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, home fries, Dutch baby
  13. Burger Night - beef or vegetarian, oven fries
  14. Leftovers or Dinner Salad (greens, vegetables, meat, cheese…)

The next few days here are going to bring beans & cornbread, ribs, a roast dinner, curry night, and pasta night.














And to help me keep myself in line:

Two-Week Menu Rotation

Date
Meal
Date
Meal












































So, yeah. This is what I’m working on right now. I’m trying to stop worrying about the job/money/insurance situation, but devoting some time to my path helps reduce stress, as does cooking. We’ll see where it goes! I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Samhain Oil Blends

I am here today to give you some recipes for non-food items. Today we are talking about essential oil blends for Samhain. These blends can be used to anoint candles, and since they are diluted with a carrier oil, you can also use them (carefully) on your skin. 

As we all know, this time of year is when the veil is thinnest. The spirit world can communicate with our world, and we honor our ancestors in various ways, engage in fortune telling for the coming year, and celebrate the end of the old year. I've written previously about my beliefs for the year - it ends at Samhain, and then we have an "in-between" time until Yule. That's the time of year that I eat a vegetarian diet, which I've also blogged about. I'll dig up some links for any new readers, if you would like. 

Below is a list of various essential oils and their properties that carry energies that fit with this particular sabbat. I have also included recipes for blends that combine properties and smell good together, in case you want to anoint yourself for ritual. When I do this, I tend to focus on the inner wrists, the heart, and the third eye chakra. 

  • ·       Basil -Conscious mind, peace
  • ·       Bay - psychic awareness
  • ·       Bergamot  - Peace, happiness, restful sleep        
  • ·       Black Pepper - Mental alertness, protection, courage     
  • ·       Cedarwood   - Spirituality, anti-hex
  • ·       Cinnamon  - Protection, psychic awareness, healing
  • ·       Clove Bud - Healing, memory, protection, courage          
  • ·       Frankincense - Spirituality, meditation, astral strength
  • ·       Ginger- Magical energy, love, courage
  • ·       Grapefruit -  Purification
  • ·       Jasmine   - Love, calming, peace, spirituality, psychic dreaming    
  • ·       Lavender - Health, love, peace, relaxing
  • ·       Lemongrass  - Psychic awareness, purification   
  • ·       Myrrh - Spirituality, meditation, healing
  • ·       Orange  - Purification, joy, magical energy           
  • ·       Patchouli  - Honors the Earth
  • ·       Pine - Healing, purification, protection, magical energy  
  • ·       Rosemary  - Remembrance, love, conscious mind healing, purification
  • ·       Rose  - Love, peace
  • ·       Sandalwood  - Spirituality, healing, purification, meditation        
  • ·       Tangerine  - Protection,  wards off psychic and social vampires
  • ·       Vanilla – Love
  • ·       Vetiver – Protection, anti-curse/hex




Blends: 

1.Blend 1:       4 drops orange, 4 drops sandalwood, 3 drops frankincense, 1 drop cinnamon
2.Blend 2:     3 drops each frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and patchouli
3. Blend 3:      2 drops rosemary, 1 drop pine, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops patchouli
4.  Blend 4 :    2 drops cedar wood, 2 drops lemongrass, 3 drops sandalwood
5.Blend 5:       2 drops bay, 3 drops lemongrass, 1 drop clove
6. Blend 6:      3 drops tangerine, 2 drops frankincense, 3 drops vetiver, 3 drops rose
7.  Blend 7:     2 drops black pepper, 2 drops pine, 2 drops vanilla, 3 drops lavender
8.  Blend 8:     3 drops bergamot, 3 drops frankincense, 2 drops ginger
9. Blend 9:       2 drops vanilla, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops jasmine
1. Blend 10:   1 drop basil, 2 drops bay, 3 drops grapefruit, 2 drops vetiver 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Must be the season of the (unprepared) witch

Happy Rocktober, everybody! My favorite month, my favorite season, and my favorite sabbat. Probably yours, too. Plenty Samhain awesomeness for all! But, seriously, where the eff did August and September go?

I wanted to share a dream with you all. I haven't been sleeping well for a while, and the other day, I managed to catch a short nap, but I was plagued by a terrible dream: It was already Samhain, and I hadn't planned my menu, done any shopping or cooking, or made a single preparation to honor the beloved dead! I woke up in a panic.

I think the message here is: Stop procrastinating, you ding-dong! Or something like that. I really need to be creative this year, being unemployed and all. Sure, I have more time and most likely won't be hopelessly depressed and overwhelmed like last year (knock on wood), but I'm broke AF. 

Still, I plan to do something on my own here at the house. My boyfriend and I are also going to attend an event at an acquaintance's home. All we have to do is show up, and he's been asked to do the music. 

Tell me about your plans. Have you decorated yet? What are you cooking? Are the kiddos dressing up? Are you? Sing it with me: It's the most wonderful time of the year!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Talkin' About Writer's Block

Always a good topic for me, writer's block happened to be the topic of this week's twitter chat at #writestuff.  Join author Tamara Woods and discuss various topics related to writers and writing. These chats happen every Tuesday at 21:00 EST. 

I don’t write fiction in my blog. I don’t really write creative nonfiction, either. I write recipes, and sometimes, I run out of ideas. I get recipe writers’ block, I suppose. Other writers run out of ideas, too. They might write a few pages of utter shite, crumple it up and throw it away, but I can’t bake a terrible cake and then waste it. No way! Brainstorming wastes no food. I can’t taste it, but I have a pretty good idea of what flavors work together well, sorta well, and not at all well.

Recipe writer’s block is like when I look at seasonal ingredients and ideas for inspiration, and I find nothing but the same old ideas. The same handful of recipes, done over and over again with a different garnish. Speaking of things overused, here’s a phrase: There’s nothing new under the sun. And it’s true. For now. I just know I won’t be the one to come up with the Next Big Thing in recipes, and I’m 100% fine with that. That’s not my goal. What I bring to the table (heh) is – I hope – simplicity, realness, some education, and a bit of entertainment.

 Other times, when I am writing a story for fun or an essay about something, I get this feeling that there are all of these ideas dancing around in my head. Some of them try to get into some sort of order, but the other ideas start a game of Red Rover, and there is chaos once again. Plus, the damned things won’t wriggle out of my brain and through my fingertips so I can put them on paper.

When writer’s block strikes, depression increases, and I am very harsh with myself. I doubt my creativity, my talent. Then I think about all the ideas I’ve had in the past. I’ve started cookery book projects before. The ideas just hadn’t seemed right. The organization and content were lacking. When the current idea struck, I nearly lit up like a Yuletide tree. Now I just have to keep up that motivation and inspiration and…

I might need some encouragement from friends now and again. I hope they don’t mind my recipe-related ramblings. For that matter, I hope none of my cakes turn out terrible! I wouldn’t want to waste a failed experiment, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to eat it, either. Perhaps a respectful burial would be in order?